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Basis strengthens on futures selloff

Agriculture.com Staff 03/06/2007 @ 10:17am

Futures markets posted heavy losses in the past week as some concerns about higher 2007 acreage and profit-taking sent corn futures down 24 cents while soybean futures gave up 44 cents for the week.

The good news was basis levels firmed quite significantly in the last week to help soften the blow.

Both corn and soybean basis saw improvements of about 6 cents a bushel on average across the United States. In each case, the biggest gains centered around river terminals as lower barge rates helped lift key terminal bids. Along the Illinois River barge rates over the last week fell nearly 12 cents a bushel, while rates along the Ohio and Lower Mississippi Rivers slipped about 6 cents a bushel.

For corn, there were areas where basis improvement was less pronounced. Sections of central Kansas and northwest Iowa posted only a few cents in basis improvement for the week.

In the soybean market, strong gains started at the river system but spread all the way to the eastern Seaboard. More moderate gains occurred in the Plains.

Basis improvements should continue to hold up for the next month or so. As farmers start to focus on planting and less on marketing pipeline supplies could start to be pinched a bit. However, the big basis driver will be what happens in futures. For barge rates, the latest round of weakness is consistent with the seasonality of barge rates, which tend to reach a low in March and April.

Futures markets posted heavy losses in the past week as some concerns about higher 2007 acreage and profit-taking sent corn futures down 24 cents while soybean futures gave up 44 cents for the week.

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